U.S. Crypto Regulation Unlikely to Materialize in the Near Future: White House Official

For all the doomsday scenarios surrounding cryptocurrency regulation, the United States is unlikely to adopt any of its own in the near future, according to a top White House official.

Not Close on Crypto Regulation

In a Friday interview with CNBC, White House cyber security coordinator Rob Joyce said new regulations for the digital asset class remain far off the table. To arrive at meaningful regulation, the powers that be must still unravel the benefits and drawbacks of the new asset class.

“I think we’re still absolutely studying and understanding what the good ideas and bad ideas in that space are,” Joyce said at the Munch Security Conference in Germany when asked about the future of government regulation. “So, I don’t think it’s close.”

He added: “We are worried. There are benefits to the bitcoin concept — digital cash, digital currencies. But at the same time, if you look at the way bitcoin works after there is a criminal act that takes place, you can’t rewind the clock and take back that currency.”

Where We Stand on Regulation

Joyce wasn’t the first White House official to chime in on cryptocurrency. Last month, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin raised warning signs about the new asset class, telling an audience at the Economic Club in Washington that regulators are investigating illegal activities involving cryptocurrency. He also indicated that the Financial Stability Oversight Council had assembled a working group to explore the evolving marketplace.

Meanwhile, the nation’s top securities regulators testified before the Senate earlier this month, but gave no timeline for a new regulatory regime. In fact, the heads of the CFTC and SEC struck a cautiously optimistic tone when describing the future of the cryptocurrency market. However, Senate Banking Committee Chair Mike Crapo indicated that regulators may need more powers to control offside behavior.

With the exception of initial coin offerings (ICOs), the cryptocurrency market has gotten off easy in the United States. Last December, the CFTC became one of the world’s first regulators to recognize bitcoin derivatives, a move that many say will open the door to wider mainstream acceptance.

Crypto regulation will be on the agenda next month at the Group of 20 Summit in Buenos Aires. Officials from France and Germany are expected to table a proposal demanding a broad clampdown on the market, although precise details have yet to materialize.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Chief Editor to Hacked.com and Contributor to CCN.com, Sam Bourgi has spent the past nine years focused on economics, markets and cryptocurrencies. His work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Avid crypto watchers and those with a libertarian persuasion can follow him on twitter at @hsbourgi